Once upon lived a couple, who wasn’t powerful or rich. They were selling vegetables from their own garden at the local market. But they were nice people and loved each other. And their only dream was to have a child, beautiful like the spring and clever like the sage. Day after day, they were dreaming about it. And once they were concentrated on their desire so strongly, that accidentally sold one old woman a kilo of potatoes, though the buyer paid for two kilos.
Upon coming home, the old woman weighted her potatoes. Imagine her anger, when she turned out, that she paid for two kilos, but got only one! And that woman was a witch. Everybody was afraid to provoke her because people knew: that’s a recipe for disaster.
She came back to the market and told: “You! You cheated me! And you’ll be punished for that!”
Please, nice old woman, — said the seller quaking in terror, take what you want, but don’t curse us! If we cheated you, it wasn’t intentional! It was just because we were to busy thinking about our future child!
—Ah! — Cried the witch, — you were thinking about the child! So I curse you to think about your child continuously! And if you don’t do it, if you think more about anything or anybody else, you’ll turn into ghosts! And also if your child once thinks about anybody or anything more, than about you, you also will be turned into ghosts!
And she left the market, angry, like a beaten monkey. Spouse wept, and everybody was compassionating them, but nobody could help. Soon the woman became pregnant, and although it was their biggest desire to have a child, they both became very sad. Nine months later, the woman gave birth to the nicest girl, who was really beautiful as the spring and wise like a sage. But parents were afraid to leave her alone even for a minute. If the girl (her name was Samantha, what means ‘flower’) was playing with her friends, her parents always were near. And when she went to school, they used to wait here near it even when she became adult enough to come to school and back home alone.
Samantha was ashamed of their behavior greatly, but she couldn’t change anything. Once she was playing with her friend and saw her parents busy by conversation. Then she stood up quietly and left the yard. She just was walking along the streets of the city. And she was feeling so happy, so free! She was just looking at people, smiling at them, talking with unknown children, admiring storefronts. The late evening she came back home. First, she saw was tear—stained and condemning eyes of her parents. Her mother fell down, wrapped her hands around Samantha’s legs and wailed:
— Thank God you are safe!
The girl was embarrassed very much and never ever left her parents since that day. But she was growing, and love has come along. He was her classmate (she couldn’t know men outside of her school or yard because of parent’s behavior). He also fell in love with her, and they decided to marry. When Samantha told her parent that she was going to marry and to move with her husband to another city, her mother fainted, and her father reached for his heart. The young woman felt guilty.
— Mother, mother, — she said, — I love you, but I also want to have my own life!
— My dear daughter, — said the father sadly, — you are adult enough, and we can uncover the truth.
And they told Samantha the whole story about the old witch and her curse. Samantha was shocked. She couldn’t sleep that night. In the morning, she decided:
— I should sacrifice my happiness to save my parents. They were always so attentive, so loving with me. I have to pay them back.
And she told her parents about her decision. They were pleased and delighted. But that day Samantha lost gleam in her eyes. She met her groom and told:
— Forgive me please, but I can’t marry you and move to another city with you.
He was begging her to change her decision or to tell at least what happened, but she was like an ice sculpture. Finally, he left alone, came to the other city, met the other girl there, and married her. And Samantha fell ill. She was ill during the winter, and in the spring, which she loved most, she felt better. Her parents were so afraid that she could die! And in such a case, they definitely would have to become ghosts! It was a terrifying thought. But she survived, and they remained alive.
At April’s morning, Samantha’s mother came into her bedroom and said:
— My dear, we are so grateful you stayed with us. And we want to thank you. Your father found a nice young man who will be a great husband for you. You can live with him in our house. It is wonderful, isn’t it?
The young woman, who lost gleam in her eyes, agreed to marry that man. She married, and they started to live in her parent’s house. Parents were gloriously happy and Samantha… she was just calm. Soon the young woman gave birth to a boy. And he was so sincere and nice, that for some time the gleam came back to her eyes. But her parents claimed they knew better how to care about the baby (eventually they grew up Samantha). And soon they were controlling every step of the young mother. And she was doing everything as they indicated. And if she didn’t, they were extremely sad, she felt guilty and changed her behavior.
And everything was going well externally. But once Samantha wanted to take the pan to heat up the milk for her son. She took it and… It fell down. The woman couldn’t understand what happened.
“Probably, I wasn’t holding it tight enough”, — she thought and tried to pick it up. But when she almost put it on the table, it fell down again.
— What is happening? — amazed her husband.
— I… I don’t know, — answered Samantha.
She couldn’t hold anything in the house. It looked like… things were just… going through her hands. But the worst thing was that she couldn’t pick up her own son. Soon she noticed in the mirror, that…
— I can’t believe that — she told her husband, but… it seems that I am becoming transparent!
— How ridiculous! — Her husband laughed. But this laughing wasn’t natural. He could already see walls through his wife.
Things were getting worse and worse. Soon Samantha noticed that her husband and especially the son were becoming transparent as well. She was frightened as never before.
— Darling, — she said to her husband, — it seems that curse which is put on my parents is extending to us,
— What do you mean?! — he asked.
And he told him the story about the malediction. The young man pondered.
— But your parents are not transparent! They look absolutely like ordinary people!
— That’s right, — Samantha gave a sight. — But what we can do?!
— I have an idea. Let’s go to the witch and persuade her to remove the spell.
That was a great idea! Samantha rushed to her parents and convinced them to go to the witch. At first, they bluntly refused to go there, because they still were frightened of her. But when young women proved them she was turning into the ghost, they agreed with a heavy heart.
The whole family came to the house of the hug. It was a big black horse, which was three centuries old. The windows were tiny, and the walls were ivy—covered. Parents refused to come in and told them they would wait outside. So Samantha came there with her husband and son.
There was very dark inside.
— Is anybody here? — shouted the young man, but nobody answered.
They climbed the stairs and started to open doors into rooms, one after another. But every room was empty. Finally, they came to the back room, opened it slowly, and was the hug lying on the bed. She was very, very, very old, and she was dying.
— Hello, Samantha, — said the hug, — I was waiting for you.
— Do you know why I came? — asked the woman distraught.
— Yes, yes, I know. You came to ask me to remove the spell from your parents. But the truth is that I removed it already a long time ago when you were a little girl.
— Why didn’t you tell them about that?! — cried Samantha, — My life could be much better!
— I was trying! I sent them letters, but they were shredding them without reading!
— In such a case, why she is turning into a ghost? — asked the young man.
— Because you don’t live your own life, — gave a sight the old witch. — Everybody who doesn’t live his or her own life is becoming a ghost. I have to prevent you. If you don’t leave your parents before the nearest full moon, you’ll become a ghost, bell, book, and candle.
The witch said it and died. The young couple left her house and told her parents everything they heard.
— Fiddlesticks! — Grumbled the father, — the curse is still alive! She lied to you in order to turn us into ghosts!
— But father, we are turning into ghosts! — cried Samantha, but her mother answered:
— Flapdoodle! You look very well!
It was three days before the full moon. The small boy couldn’t hold any toy, and it was making him weepy. When one day was left, Samantha tried to talk again to her parents. But they were inflexible, claimed that the old hug just lied to her and that such good daughter as Samantha wouldn’t like if her parents became bodiless.
Last night before the full moon, Samantha was awakened by some noise. She opened her eyes and saw her husband, who was leaving the room with their son.
— Where are you going? — she asked.
— I am going to save myself and our son, — he answered, — I am not going to stay here waiting until we all free become bodiless.
— But my parents! It will make then unhappy! — exclaimed Samantha.
— If you are ready to sacrifice your life to your parents, you can do it, but I don’t, and I am not going to let it happen to my son!
— Wait! — said the young woman, — I am coming with you!
She wasn’t sure she had made the right decision. But howbeit she took some of her clothes, some toys of her son and with great difficulties got out of the window with the stuff.
— Where are we going? — she asked her husband.
— I don’t know. I have relatives in the East. Maybe we can go there. But the most important thing is that we are not in that house anymore.
Samantha fell silent. The sun was rising, and she noticed that while they were going on, they were becoming less and less transparent, and their bodies were coming back to them. Tired, they stopped near the big tree. Their son took a twig, and it didn’t fall out of his hand. He laughed happily.
And what about Samantha’s parents? In the morning, they discovered their daughter escaped with her son and husband. They were crying and yelling, and it didn’t cease. Their neighbors listened to the noise, came and asked, what happened.
— Our daughter left us, and we are ghosts now! — they bawled.
— No, you are not ghosts, — said neighbors.
— No, we are! — insisted on the spouse.
And no matter how people were trying to convince the couple they were not turned into ghosts, it was in vain. So they came back to their houses. And the old couple lived the rest of their life considering themselves ghost. And they were so sure of it, that soon they really looked like ghosts, and their lives were boring, mirthless and full of mournings.
And their daughter, she was living happily on the East, although she was yearning for her parents sometimes. But she used to tell every day to her son until he became an adult:
— Son, you have to live your own life as you wish.
And that’s what he was talking to his own children, when he got them, too.